December 16, 2009
The Lost City of New Orleans and Flying Saucers
Posted by Daren Bakst at 3:36 PM
An N & O letter writer doesn't seem to agree with me in a letter I recently wrote to the paper. Specifically, while he doesn't challenge my claim that drastic cuts in carbon emissions would devastate the economy, he does argue that if we don't cut emissions, it also will have an impact on our economy.
My thoughtful response: Please show me where cutting emissions will have any impact on global temperature and therefore have an impact on the catastrophes the author discusses in his letter. He won't be able to point to anything because cutting emissions will have no impact on the dire consequences he predicts.
Here's what he describes as some of the catastrophes that would occur if we don't make drastic cuts:
- Outer Banks will be underwater
- The Gulf will be submerged
- New Orleans will be lost (Maybe Atlantis was lost due to carbon emissions)
The appropriate response: When people claim they see Bigfoot, we tend to think of them as a little off-balance (except for my uncle who really did see Bigfoot). If nothing else, we are a little skeptical. When people say they were abducted by aliens, we have our doubts.
Yet, when it comes to global warming, the media has no doubts. They ignore the significant evidence showing that it isn't a problem. Maybe they are lazy and assume that since there has been warming over the last century (yes, there has been warming), it must be a problem. Maybe it is the "perfect storm" of environmental extremists, left-wing foundations, immoral scientists, and rent-seeking companies (e.g. GE, Duke Energy) that makes this sham stay alive and not a joke as it should be.
Even when there's tons of evidence showing how data has been manipulated by the alarmist scientists, the media doesn't act as a watchdog and investigate. Instead, it goes out of its way, without any expertise, to defend the message of global warming alarmism.
When people talk about the lost city of New Orleans or whatever silly catastrophe they want to make-up, those with common sense need to tell the truth and call these claims "nutty."
It may be politically incorrect to use common sense when it comes to global warming hysteria, but people need to start doing so, before it is too late.
These claims are nutty and deserve to be mocked. When did we decide to allow the alarmist inmates to run the asylum?
Or, just maybe, we should come up with nutty claims of our own. For example, if we make drastic cuts in CO2 emissions, millions of people will lose their jobs. If we make the cuts that are desired by some, we would have a 19th century standard of living. Wait a second, that is all true.
We should let the nuts make the nutty claims, and those with common sense need to speak up. When an alarmist asks me about the lost city of New Orleans, I'll simply respond: Let me consult with Bigfoot first. At least then we'd be on the same wavelength.
Re: Time's Person of the Year
Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:27 PM
We don't need to go back that far, Michael. Since 2000, winners have included such leading lights as Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, George Bush (twice!), as well as Mahmoud Amadinejad along with Mike Nifong, Eric Rudolph, David Duke, John Allen Muhammad et al. in 2006.
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 3:25 PMNow I'm forced to post on this topic, if only to end the silly squabbling over whose post on the issue is better (lookee here). So let's settle this right now.
1) Bernanke appears to be a shape-shifter. He's fundamentally Keynesian, but will reveal from time to time a tendency to call upon Monetarist templates if they suit his ongoing need to defend what is, isn't, or is going/not going to happen in the economy. 2) scare tactics (mostly the analytical equivalent of economic global warming/climate change) have been used repeatedly to wrest power and decision-making rights from individual consumers, entrepreneurs, and productive people in general, to the detriment of all of us who use money to carry out our daily dealings (that is, all of us), and 3) Bernanke has played both villain and hero, a well-known role for monetary authorities in Austrian monetary cycle theory, and deserves no special credit [sic] for his role as supposed economic or monetary savior.
He has saved the world but he helped cause the crisis in the first place, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
Telegraph – By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Published: 25 Aug 2009
"Ben Bernanke has proved himself a heroic fire-fighter, saving world from a calamitous spiral into debt deflation by showering markets with liquidity.
A good thing too. He helped cause the raging fire of 2007-2009 in the first place. As a Princeton professor and then a junior Federal Reserve governor, Mr Bernanke was the intellectual architect of his predecessor Alan Greenspan’s policies that so distorted global finance and pushed debt to historic extremes.
"Economists call this critique “intertemporal misallocation”. It is a favourite of the Austrian School. It plays almost no role in the “New Keynesian” thinking of Bernanke."
Time's "Man of the Year" award to Bernanke
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 3:09 PM
Terry and Daren are right. Let's remember that Time recognized Hitler in 1938 and Stalin in 1939 as Time's "Man of the Year."
John Goodman has another excellent post on health care reform
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 3:01 PM
NCPA president John Goodman provides five reasons why the health care "command and control" approach will not work. His conclusion should be enough to entice you read the details here.
As previously explained, every example we have of excellence in medical practice has originated on the supply side of the market — usually in spite of, rather than because of, third-party reimbursement.
Common sense would seem to dictate that we learn from this
experience. Let’s free the doctors from the dysfunctional bureaucratic,
anti-patient environment they are currently trapped in. At least that
idea makes a lot more sense than subjecting them to the dictates of
Time: Bernanke is "Person of the Year"
Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:25 PM
Fed Chair Ben Bernanke was named Time's "Person of the Year." In all fairness to Time, they don't always pick people that affect the world for good. From this USA Today article:
Update: I can see Terry already wrote about this-- but my post is better.
Time says its Person of the Year "is bestowed by the editors on the
person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or
ill, and embodied what was important about the year."
However, Time gushed about Bernanke. They may have picked the right person, but they did so for the wrong reasons.
An alarming shade of green
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 2:07 PM
Mitch Kokai's earlier Locker Room post made some excellent references. Here are a few more from the Raleigh News & Observer's Letters and Opinion page. Today they have printed contributions that have lots to offer that is sensible, despite the continued bleating of the Climategate deniers. It's a whole different kind of inconvenient truth, now.
Direct instruction works
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 12:57 AM
The Consortium for Policy Research in Education recently published a capstone report for their 13-year, $20 million study of instructional programs. The study involved 115 elementary schools, 300 teachers, 800 school leaders, 7,500 students.
The Success for All program, which uses highly-specified instruction routines and scripts, "appeared to accelerate students’ reading achievement in the [critical] early elementary grades."
Fat cat bankers don't have to pay taxes
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:54 AM
Citigroup can pay back its TARP loans with money it would have owed in taxes. Wells Fargo got a similar deal last year as a sweetener for its purchase of Wachovia, but that was repealed by Congress. The Obama administration claims the president still has authority to cut this deal with "fat cat bankers" he has blamed for the financial mess.
While families have increased their saving and paid off credit cards by making due with less, the government has converted its loans to banks into tax credits. The bailout continues through other, less open and transparent, means
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:05 AM
With so many free tools available for open government, it's surprising how few elected officials use blogs, Facebook, or Twitter to get their message out. The Greensboro News & Record examines how Greensboro and Guilford County have used these tools.
Former Bush appointee named Person of the Year
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 10:19 AM
TIME named Ben Bernanke their 2009 Person of the Year. Apparently, the economy would "have been much, much weaker" without the intervention of the Federal Reserve.
Lines like "Now that Obama has decided to keep him in his job" beg the question - who selected him for the job in the first place? Of course, TIME does not mention that President Bush appointed Bernanke to the Fed in 2006. If they did, it would be difficult for the media to claim that Bush was responsible for the recession.
Is government economic development an oxymoron?
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 09:42 AM
Jack McHugh at the Mackinac Center in Michigan explains the three major reasons that state and local government officials engage in so-called economic development here.
If these programs don't work, why do lawmakers keep expanding them? I
think there are three reasons.
First, there's a "seen and unseen" problem: It's easy to see
a particular firm offering to invest and create jobs in one community
if the government will only grant it some special favor not available to
other firms. Harder to see are the negative effects of such activity on the rest of the
economy, including the additional tax burdens carried by the non-favored firms.
Second, while all this activity does nothing for real economic development, it's a
highly effective tool for political development.
Doing the things necessary to foster real
economic growth — cutting government spending, lowering taxes, reducing
regulations and modernizing labor laws — are hard because they all make
politically powerful special interests angry. Expanding economic development
programs lets lawmakers pretend to be "doing something" to help the economy,
regardless of whether they really are. Plus, every favor handed out to a
particular interest in return for an investment generates opportunities for
glowing press releases and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Finally, perhaps the most important reason is suggested by
the multiplicity of state and local entities empowered to grant favors:
political careerism. The primary goal of members of our current
class, including almost every one of Michigan's 148 legislators, is to
on a government payroll for the rest of their working lives, and
retire with a generous government pension and benefits. Prior to
senator or representative, the vast majority of current legislators had
elected or appointed to some local government position, including in
In addition to these reasons, I would add that the economic development
has created hundreds (maybe thousands) of jobs for bureaucrats in the NC Department of
Commerce and county and city governments. These career officials have
every reason to keep the scam going. Unfortunately, these jobs do not
create wealth in NC. They drain wealth from taxpayers by awarding
funds and tax breaks to favored businesses. Do Dell, SkyBus and Randy Parton Theater ring a bell?
Walter Williams continues his quest...
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:50 AM
to explain why the minimum wage is bad for America's youth, especially black youth here.
The little bit of money a kid could earn after school and on the
weekends is not nearly as important as the other benefits from early
work experiences. Any kind of job, paying any wage, teaches a youngster
that he must be on time, respect supervisors, develop good work habits,
plus there's the self-esteem and pride that comes from being at least
financially semi-independent. Early work experiences benefit any kid
but are far more important for kids from broken homes, who reside in
crime-ridden neighborhoods and attend rotten schools. If they are to
learn anything that will make them a more valuable employee in the
future, it will have to come from work; they won't learn it at home or
in the schools. For Congress to enact higher and higher minimum wages,
to benefit their union supporters, is shameful and cruel. (emphasis added)
DPI recommendations for middle grades social studies
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:08 AM
We await specific details of the topics covered in each grade, but the reorganization of middle grades social studies is a bit curious.
Current: South America and Europe
Recommended: World Civilizations (Beginnings to 1600)
I assume that the curriculum will start with river valley civilizations. There are many possible ways to conclude the course, but I think that the Spanish establishment of a trading base in Manila (1573) would set up the seventh grade curriculum nicely.
Current: Africa, Asia, and Australia
Recommended: State, Nation, and World (1600-1971)
The curriculum should begin with the founding of the Dutch East India Company in 1602, particularly if the idea is to teach kids about the beginnings of global trade and cultural diffusion.
The conclusion of the course is where things get strange. I assume that curriculum folk chose 1971 because of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (or perhaps the ratification of the revised NC Constitution), but I am not sure. The problem is that the space race, civil rights movement, and wars in Korea and Vietnam will get insufficient coverage. Any teacher could tell you that topics covered at the end of the school year never demand the attention of the students. Of course, a lot depends on pacing and the testing schedule.
Current: North Carolina: Creation and Development of the State
Recommended: The Global Community (1971-present)
One must question the logic of mandating a year-long curriculum that covers only 40 years. If the idea is to encourage students to take a global perspective, a reasonable alternative would be to start the course at the beginning of the Spanish American War in 1898. This would mean that global conflicts (you know, world wars) are captured and important subjects like the civil rights movement receive adequate attention.
You might expect this from a global warming alarmist, but ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AM
... Newsweek's latest "Conventional Wisdom" blurb includes the following unbiased observation:
World gets serious in Copenhagen.
While a few wingnut deniers in U.S. obsess over "scandal."
Apparently the magazine's editors don't believe Climategate is enough of a scandal to use the word without quotation marks. Perhaps they need to read this, this, and this.
Forget about Obamacare cutting costs, Samuelson says
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM
Robert J. Samuelson uses his latest Newsweek column to rebut the notion that the Obama administration's health-care reform proposals will do anything to reduce costs.
The point is simple: even with highly optimistic assumptions, health
spending remains out of control. It absorbs more of government,
business, and family budgets. Higher health spending would put pressure
on future budget deficits, already projected to total about $9 trillion
over the next decade. If new taxes and Medicare "savings" are real,
they could be used exclusively to pay down deficits, not finance new
But many may not be real. Writing in The Wall Street Journal,
Dr. Jeffrey Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School, gave the various
health bills a "failing grade" and said they wouldn't "control the
growth of costs or raise the quality of care." Dr. Delos Cosgrove, head
of the Cleveland Clinic, was quoted in NEWSWEEK saying practically the
same thing. The chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services, a federal agency, doubts the cost-saving provisions
touted by CAP would save much money. He's also skeptical that Congress,
facing complaints from hospitals and a squeeze on services, would allow
all the Medicare reimbursement cuts to take effect.Health
spending might spontaneously slow, but history suggests skepticism. To
attack costs first would require admitting that not all good things are
possible simultaneously and that the uninsured already receive much
New Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:33 AM
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report on Tuesday's contentious Wake County school board meeting.
John Hood's Daily Journal responds to changes among the power-broker elite in Charlotte.
Unintended consequences, high irony version
Posted by Jon Sanders at 00:10 AMSo ... we "need" energy-efficient traffic lights to ward off global warming ("we" are apparently so deplorably stupid as to think choice in light bulbs makes a measurable difference in the global climate). We need to ward off global warming because otherwise children will be harmed, three centuries from now — and nobody wants to harm children, not even hypothetical ones centuries hence.
If you're thinking this setup is fraught with dangerous unintended consequences, well, you're right. The energy-efficient traffic lights can't even melt the ice forming on them, leading to traffic accidents and people — real, present-day people, including real, present-day children — are being hurt or killed.
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